Futbol at the Cathedral – Amuse Bouche #21 (Dennis Aubrey)


The Cathédrale Saint Pierre in Poitiers is a marvelous Angevin Gothic structure located down the hill from the town center. It is surrounded by a large parvis, used for ages by youngsters for their games. Every time we go to the cathedral we notice something very unusual – soccer balls nestled among the sculptures on the facade on the south and west.

We have been there at times and seen half a dozen balls captured by the stone goalies who delight in mocking the players below.

Cathédrale Saint Pierre, Poitiers (Vienne)  Photo by PJ McKey

Cathédrale Saint Pierre, Poitiers (Vienne) Photo by PJ McKey

The next shot tells the full story – the lower figure is distraught with the loss of the ball while the demon above exults in his triumph. PJ proposes an alternate interpretation, that the demon figures are upset because they have failed as goalies as the children below have scored with their shots.

Cathédrale Saint Pierre, Poitiers (Vienne)  Photo by PJ McKey

Cathédrale Saint Pierre, Poitiers (Vienne) Photo by PJ McKey

Of course there always in alternative interpretations in much medieval sculpture but either way, the balls provide a form of liturgical decoration that the builders never anticipated.

This is part of a series of posts featuring an amuse-bouche, a bite-sized appetizer to whet the appetite of diners. Each of these will explore a single interesting feature of medieval architecture or sculpture. To see other amuse-bouches, follow this link.

7 responses to “Futbol at the Cathedral – Amuse Bouche #21 (Dennis Aubrey)

  1. Then on the 6th day, God created man in His own image, and on the 7th day he created football so man could expend his copious energies and creativity on making a sphere do wondrous things!

  2. How much fun to imagine all these possibilities. My enormous move is complete and as soon as I find my passport and SS Card let the travels begin!!

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